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How can people with lactose intolerance be sure to get enough calcium?

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Milk and milk products are especially good sources of calcium and other nutrients, even for those with lactose intolerance. By following strategies to manage lactose intolerance, most affected people can enjoy milk and milk products with few or no symptoms and gain the nutritional benefits they provide. Some nondairy foods are also healthy sources of calcium. 

These foods include1:

  • Fish with soft bones that you eat, such as canned sardines and salmon
  • Kale, Chinese cabbage, broccoli
  • Orange juice with added calcium
  • Some fortified breads and breakfast cereals
  • Soy and rice beverages with added calcium
  • Tofu (with calcium sulfate)

People who do not get enough calcium through the foods they eat and drink may need a daily calcium supplement. Use the table below to find out how much calcium you need each day.

Daily Calcium Needs2

Life stageRecommended amount
Birth to 6 months200 mg
Infants 7-12 months260 mg
Children 1-3 years700 mg
Children 4-8 years1,000 mg
Children 9-13 years1,300 mg
Teens 14-18 years1,300 mg
Adults 19-50 years1,000 mg
Adult men 51-70 years1,000 mg
Adult women 51-70 years1,200 mg
Adults 71 years and older1,200 mg
Pregnant and breastfeeding teens1,300 mg
Pregnant and breastfeeding adults1,000 mg

  1. Office of Dietary Supplements. (2011). Dietary supplement fact sheet: Calcium. Retrieved April 25, 2012, from http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-QuickFacts/ [top]
  2. Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. (2010). DRIs for calcium and vitamin D. Retrieved April 25, 2012, from http://nationalacademies.org/hmd/Reports/2010/Dietary-Reference-Intakes-for-Calcium-and-Vitamin-D/DRI-Values.aspx External Web Site Policy [top]

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